Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

Representing the 1st District of New Hampshire
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
YouTube icon
RSS icon

NH Delegation Seeks Transparent Environmental, Safety Review of Possible Flow Reversal of Portland-Montreal Pipeline

Apr 18, 2014
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Wakana, 202-225-5456
 
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to concerns from local residents, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that a new Presidential Permit be required if the Portland Pipe Line Corporation (PPLC) seeks to change the direction and content of the Portland-Montreal pipeline.
 
The Portland Pipe Line Corporation currently operates a pipeline system transporting light to medium crude oil northwest from tankers in Portland Harbor, Maine through northern New Hampshire to Montreal, Canada. PPLC has indicated that it may seek to reverse the pipeline’s flow direction and change its contents to Canadian oil sands products, also known as diluted bitumen. 
 
“While PPLC has not provided an official notice of their intent to change pipeline operations, we are concerned that recent actions by the National Energy Board of Canada indicate that PPLC may soon pursue a flow reversal and substance change,” the delegation wrote. “If such a request were to occur, it is important for the State Department to conduct a transparent and thorough environmental and safety review of the proposal as part of a new Presidential Permit process.”  
 
The delegation continued, “The transport of diluted bitumen southward through the Portland-Montreal pipeline would be a substantial shift from the pipeline’s current use. Such changes also pose risks to our constituents’ health, the environment and wildlife, which is why we believe the proposal should warrant a comprehensive review as required by the Presidential Permit process.” 
 
The Portland-Montreal pipeline was approved under a 1999 Presidential Permit and passes through five New Hampshire towns—Shelburne, Gorham, Randolph, Jefferson and Lancaster.  Under Executive Order, the Secretary of State has the authority to issue Presidential Permits for the construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of certain facilities, including pipelines, at the borders of the United States. 

Full text of the letter is below.

+++

April 18, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NH
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write regarding our concern that the Portland Pipe Line Corporation (PPLC) may seek approval to change the direction and content of the Portland-Montreal pipeline.  Should this occur, we request that a new Presidential Permit be required in order to allow for a complete review of the proposal. 
 
While PPLC has not provided an official notice of their intent to change pipeline operations, we are concerned that recent actions by the National Energy Board of Canada indicate that PPLC may soon pursue a flow reversal and substance change.  If such a request were to occur, it is important for the State Department to conduct a transparent and thorough environmental and safety review of the proposal as part of a new Presidential Permit process.  
 
The National Energy Board of Canada recently approved the reversal and transport of diluted bitumen and conventional crude oil for a pipeline which connects to the Portland-Montreal pipeline in Montreal.  PPLC and its Canadian Partners have publically expressed interest in transporting diluted bitumen from Alberta, Canada to Portland, Maine.  
 
As you know, the Portland-Montreal pipeline was approved under a 1999 Presidential Permit to transport conventional crude oil northwest from Portland Harbor in Maine to Canada, passing through Vermont and five northern New Hampshire towns—Shelburne, Gorham, Randolph, Jefferson and Lancaster.  
 
The transport of diluted bitumen southward through the Portland-Montreal pipeline would be a substantial shift from the pipeline’s current use.  Such changes also pose risks to our constituents’ health, the environment and wildlife, which is why we believe the proposal should warrant a comprehensive review as required by the Presidential Permit process.  
 
Thank you for your consideration of our request.  
 
Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator

Kelly Ayotte 
United States Senator

Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress 

Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress

###